Opinion: Government's promise of safe emergency housing is just propaganda

OPINION: They say you judge a society by how it treats its most vulnerable - and when National started to put people into motels five years ago, because we hadn't built enough houses, most people decided 'well it's not ideal but it sure beats sleeping in cars on motorway off ramps'.

But now these motels have ballooned to be the first and last option for emergency housing in New Zealand.

Around 4000 households live in emergency housing paid for by MSD, made up of about 4600 adults and 4000 children.

Then there's those young Kiwis aged around 16 who are also placed into these motels. They're vulnerable, young, broke, at a tough stage of their lives and in a totally dangerous place.

They are placed there by the Government.

Lifewise also has a role in that - it's their job to help young people into housing but they have few options and say these young people have told them they're so unsafe in these motels, next to the pimps, drug addicts and gang members, that they feel safer under a bridge sleeping rough in the city.

It's an indictment on the system and an indictment on what we haven't done - we have few emergency housing options and shelters - they simply don't exist.

But surely it's in no one's interest to mix young people with some of these scumbags... It can only be a poor outcome.

 What's the Government doing about it? Lots they say - the problem is the truth is revealed with facts and the number of Kiwis living in motels continues to rise - the promises are just propaganda. 

We have to do better.

Duncan Garner is a host of The AM Show.